Senate Backtracks On Law To Muscle Social Media Critics

The Senate on Tuesday resolved to delete Section 13 (3) from the proposed Bill on electronic fraud for fear that it could be abused and misinterpreted.

The section stipulates a seven-year jail for people who intentionally publish slanderous messages about government electronically.

“Anyone who intentionally propagates false information that could threaten the security of the country or capable of inciting the general public against the government through electronic message shall be guilty of an offence…And upon conviction shall be sentenced to seven years imprisonment or N5 million fine,” the law stipulates.

Senator representing Ogun east, Gbenga Kaka, who announced this to newsmen, said the decision was taken after due consultation with stakeholders.

“Following the public hearing which was held after the second reading, the Section 13 (3) of the provision was taken exception to by the social media; and since the Bill is now in the public, I decided to consult with the Senate Committee Chairman on Information, Media and Public Affairs, and that of Judiciary,” he said.

He said that after consultations, the Senate resolved to expunge controversial section of the proposed Bill to prevent abuse.

“As a result, I have their permission to announce to the world that that section shall be deleted,” he declared.

The bill is entitled: “A bill for an Act to provide for the prohibition of and punishment for electronic fraud and crime in all electronic transactions in Nigeria.” It had passed through the second reading in the Senate and was greeted with a lot of criticism from the social media.

Kaka expressed gratitude for all the contributions made both locally and internationally, adding that they further enriched the Bill.

He added that more suggestions and debates concerning the Bill would still be welcomed to further enrich it in the overall interest of the country.

The lawmaker emphasised that the Bill was not to gag the media but rather was targeted against the misuse of the Internet, to curb the activities of scammers.

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